NTP to be reviewed by cabinet; irks US traders

8 Mar 2012

The final version of India’s National Telecom Policy 2012 (NTP) is expected to be presented to the cabinet for approval before the end of the month, reports local news source, Zeebiz. The NTP, which sets the roadmap for the development of the sector, has been given approval by the Telecoms Commission, the apex decision making body of the industry regulator Department of Telecommunication (DoT).

Amongst the policies outlined by the NTP are plans to eliminate roaming charges, and allow number portability between circles. The NTP also set a target of 175 million broadband connections by 2017 and 600 million subscriptions of 2Mbps or more by 2020.

The NTP also looks to establish preferential treatment for domestically manufactured equipment, a policy which has raised concerns in the US. The Business Software Alliance and Telecommunications Industry Association have railed against the plan, saying that it contravenes existing agreements. In a joint letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the groups said: ‘Most troubling… are the [Indian government’s] plans to use its regulatory power to force government licensees to purchase domestic electronic products in a manner clearly inconsistent with the letter and spirit of India’s WTO [World Trade Organisation] commitments.’